Thursday 17th September 2015
Many things have changed in the city of Zagreb since we last paid a visit 9 years ago, most of them certainly to the advantage of the visitor. The most annoyingly frustrating difference however, is our result.
A conversation is often heard between those fans who travel overseas to watch our team. It surrounds how wonderfully enjoyable these trips always seem to be……followed by the slightly tongue in cheek ‘before the football does its best to spoil it’.
Well…..that is definitely an accurate summary on this occasion.
When Dynamo Zagreb came out of the hat I was very disappointed. Not only had I been here before but my recollections of the city were not exactly favourable. I don’t remember there being anything particularly wrong with it but trying hard not to offend any Croats here, especially given how hospitable they have been on this visit, I recall it being a bit……boring and drab.
If this time round is anything to go on I must have seriously missed something 9 years ago.
Tuesday’s early start and battle through the rush hour traffic to Heathrow seems a long time ago now and preceded what has been a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining experience.
Until the match of course.
The weather has been lovely and made the excellent Al fresco food and drink options in the city’s old town flow long into the night.
Matchday saw a good stroll around the city taking in many of the sights and sounds and with the old town positively buzzing it was a fine way to enjoy the build up to the game.
One of the other aspects I remember from last time we came was the incredible noise our hosts made in their stadium. Due to many current fans not being supporters of how their club is being run however, the crowd was always going to be smaller on this occasion.
The scene was set.
So what went wrong?
Pretty much everything to be honest.
We played ok in the first 20 minutes I felt and could and should of been in front. But we weren’t and patience was the key.
Olly lost his and seriously left his team mates in the mire.
Both goals were avoidable, especially the second where we were guilty of simply falling asleep at a set piece.
And even though we gave it a good go the damage was beyond repair.
So a terrible start then. But it is only game 1 of 6 so far from being a situation that can’t be rectified.
The worrying thing however, is losing for the 2nd time already thus early in the season.
A fast recovery is required as we head to the expensive end of Fulham on Saturday lunchtime.
Come on you reds!